A regular reader, Sean, writes:
"As we near the release of Star Wars Episode Seven, I share your confusion and ambivalence about the title Force Awakens. and I feel Star Wars Mania gripping the nation.
But there is a third part of myself that has already grown to detest that bright Red and Black logo, who flinches and rolls his eyes at the sheer pointlessness of a Vader shower head, and is somehow offended by the sheer garishness of it all.
Also, is there a way an honest fan can enter the coming film with the correct amount of anticipation?
Sean, those are some amazing observations and questions.
I am very much looking forward to The Force Awakens, and hoping it will be great.
I do have my expectations firmly in check, however, because over the years I've realized that, well, I'm just not a little kid any more.
No film can ever make me feel exactly the way I felt when I first saw Star Wars.
Why? I was 7 years old.
That doesn't mean there is no joy or wonder to be had at the movies anymore. I came out of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) invigorated by its presentation, and the possibilities of its world, for example.
But even that was an adult reckoning.
Going in with the expectation that a film made today -- in this corporate, homogenized movie environment -- will somehow transform my life, at 46 years old, is a certain path to the Dark Side.
I have seen Star Wars fans turn angrily on George Lucas because, somehow, he couldn't re-create for them that amazing, cherished experience they had in youth.
They don't understand the truth: it's not Star Wars that really changed. It's them. They grew up.
So I'm not certain why the same fans would suddenly believe that J.J. Abrams can accomplish what George Lucas did not. I guess because Abrams is promising the mother-of-all-nostalgia trips. "Chewie, we're home..."
What do I want and desire from the film?
I hope the movie is coherent, joyful (in J.J. Abram's words), and exciting.
I hope it has something to tell us about the world we live in today, while also transporting us to one of the most fascinating fantasy worlds of all time.
I hope The Force Awakens meaningfully reacquaints us with characters we love, and introduces us to new ones who are love-worthy and can carry the torch forward.
That's it. That's all the movie has to do.
I don't anticipate, expect, or need the film to be The Second Coming.
My recommendation would be for other fans to take that stance too. Enjoy the moment, enjoy the return of Star Wars, but leave behind your personal, sacrosanct memory from 1977.
My honest opinion about the mania and merchandising jibes with your own. It is garish; distasteful.
I can't watch any medium (even YouTube) without seeing Star Wars Walmart commercials, or Star Wars HP commercials all the bloody time. I can't surf the net without seeing a new theory, a new tidbit, a new promotional clip, a new night-show appearance every day, every hour, every minute.
I just don't need that much Star Wars. Nobody does, frankly.
It's a turn off, frankly. It makes me less inclined, not more inclined, to buy into the mania. It turns the magic into marketing.
Part of the thrill of the original Star Wars, again, back in 1977, was the feeling of discovery behind it; the feeling that you had stumbled upon something amazing that even the studio itself didn't realize was so great.
Yes, I loved (and continue to love) the toys too...they were incredible. Today, many of them have spots of honor in my home office.
But in 2015, Star Wars seems to be less about the movie -- or even toys -- than it is about selling audiences a fully-branded, never-ending "lifestyle" experience. This means we get spoon-fed the teasers, trailers, and clips. This means we get teased the next chapter, and the next standalone movie too. This means we get Star Wars Day at merchant sites and stores.
If the movie ends with a post-credits scene, I know it means, too, that this Star Wars -- whatever its merits -- is also a corporate sell-out; that the actual movie is not nearly so important as dangling the carrot of what comes next.
So I guess there is one more thing I want from The Force Awakens.
I want it to be a movie first; a vehicle for selling Darth Vader shower heads second.
I guess that's an expectation I carry with me.
The presence of a post-credits scene will be a good test, won't it?
If this work of art ends by trying to queue us up for excitement over the next installment, then, finally, the mania matters more than the movie. I'll be sad and disappointed if that's the case.
Don't forget to ask me your questions at Muirbusiness@yahoo.com